Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (94)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russian mock-attacked a Norwegian radar and peeled off at the last second.  This is a clear provocation, yet Russia will deny, deny, deny. 

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Muscovy theater over INF continues. NATO holds meeting, warns on the need to prepare for Russian post-INF capabilities. RAND surveys Russia’s hostile behaviors. Poland’s neutering of the Russian Baltic fleet. Russia jams Norway’s GPS and simulates anti-radiation missile strike against the Globus-II radar. Macedonia update. Many reports and analyses on SECSTATE Pompeo’s Visegrad tour. Nordstream 2 updates. Updates on Russian “sovereign Internet” folly – another Telegram?

Russia threatens US over mandatory Salisbury sanctions – break the law or else.

Russia’s requested UNSC meeting turns into pure blowback. Interior Minister Avakov in DC discusses de-occupation of Donbas. Sea Breeze 2019 update. Donbas update. Ukraine IW White Book of propaganda plays published by the Minister of Information Policy. Pro-Russian police officer charged. Election update.

Reports on JW persecution and Russia’s increasing use of the ROC abroad as a support asset for other capabilities.

TASS: Military & Defense – NATO chief claims alliance preparing defensive measures for ‘INF-free world’

NATO is planning defensive measures in a world without the INF Treaty but does not intend to deploy new missiles in Europe, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said

Can Russia’s Poseidon torpedo cause NATO to fall apart? – YouTube

Pravda Report Published on Feb 12, 2019 The goal of the Russian unmanned underwater vehicle Poseidon is to cause NATO to collapse, Western experts believe. According to them, most nuclear weapons can destroy one city in a nuclear attack. However, the new Russian torpedoes can wipe away a whole continent. In the United States, they fear that coastal waters can be exposed to radiation from the Russian torpedoes for many years to come. Western experts wonder whether it is expedient to save Estonia from Moscow’s tight grip as long as Russia is allegedly going to use Poseidon torpedoes as insurance, while dismantling NATO. Russian experts have reacted with saying that such an assumption is strange, to say the least, because it is impossible to destroy such a powerful organization as NATO only by the presence of a certain type of weapon. The Poseidon does raise many eyebrows in the West, but it is ridiculous to assume that Russia is willing to destroy continents and kill hundreds of millions of innocent people by starting a nuclear war. For many years, Russian military strategy has been based on principles of containment, while all types of weapons of the Russian armed forces were made to defend Russia from invasion. The Poseidon torpedo is also a weapon of containment rather than assault.

NATO – News: NATO Defence Ministers to address pressing security challenges, 12-Feb.-2019

NATO Defence Ministers will meet in Brussels this week at a critical time for transatlantic security. In a press conference (on Tuesday 12 February) ahead of the two-day meeting, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced important discussions on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, NATO’s missions and operations, and European cooperation on defence.

Oana Lungescu on Twitter: “#NATO SG @jensstoltenberg on the #INFTreaty: A treaty that is only respected by one side cannot keep us safe. 🇺🇸 has announced its intention to withdraw from the Treaty. #Russia has a last opportunity to return to compliance & save the INF Treaty.  ⤵️…;

NATO Discussing Its Response To ‘A World With More Russian Missiles’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia continues to “develop and deploy” 9M729 cruise-missile systems in breach of a key Cold War-era nuclear arms control agreement.

With no INF treaty, NATO is planning for more Russian missiles in Europe

NATO is preparing for a new era without a Cold War nuclear treaty that the U.S. accuses Russia of violating, the head of the alliance said Tuesday.

NATO Planning for More Russian Missiles in Europe

NATO ministers to meet Wednesday in Brussels to discuss “steps NATO should take”

NATO Prepares for World Where Russia Deploys More Nuclear-capable Missiles in Europe, Secretary General Says

“Russia has a last opportunity to take the responsible path,” NATO’s secretary-general warned.

The end of an era? The INF Treaty, New START, and the future of strategic stability

While the end of the INF Treaty is certainly unfortunate, it is a symptom of a much larger problem: the collapse of the existing U.S.-Russia strategic stability framework.

In Germany, a Cold War Deal to Host U.S. Nuclear Weapons Is Now in Question – WSJ

Angela Merkel’s ruling partners are reconsidering their support for a decades old arrangement that puts Germany under the U.S. nuclear shield, a development that could further undermine the country’s relationship with the U.S.

U.S. Open to Russia Nuclear Treaty as It Warns Turkey on Arms – Bloomberg

The top U.S. envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Washington was open to a broad treaty with Russia to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons while also warning Turkey not to purchase a new arms system from Moscow.

Christian Whiton | Dump NATO and Defend New Europe | The National Interest

There is little evidence that NATO members have started taking their obligations seriously.

Russian Accelerates Military Threats |

Kremlin enhances rhetoric with claims of ballistic missiles cruise missiles and tsunamis—all nuclear.

Europe must avoid another East-West missile race – POLITICO

There are better ways to protect the Continent from nuclear blackmail.

Gorbachev Calls on US to Start Dialogue on INF Treaty With Russia – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called on the United States, which recently launched its withdrawal from the deal over Russia’s alleged violations, to engage in dialogue with Russia for the sake of preventing the global security destabilization.

What Ronald Reagan would tell President Trump about arms control – The Washington Post

Treaties and negotiations have more uses than Trump seems to realize.

Russia’s Hostile Measures in Europe: Understanding the Threat | RAND

This report examines current Russian hostile measures in Europe and forecasts how Russia might threaten Europe using these measures over the next few years.

UAWire – Expert: Poland foiled Russia’s plans in Baltic Sea

A Polish anti-ship coastal defense missile division has “buried once and for all” Russia’s hopes of controlling the maritime transport routes in the Baltic Sea. In an article for Defence24, Polish military expert Maksymilian Dura explained why he believes that Poland is the only regional power capable of influencing the development strategy of Russia’s Baltic Fleet. “The most notable reaction of the Baltic Fleet was caused by the appearance of Polish NSM anti-ship missiles… which are capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 220 km and blocking Russia’s civilian shipping in the Baltic Sea,” the article states. Dura observes that the NSM missiles have “buried the Russians’ hopes” of controlling the sea routes. Russia has taken into consideration Poland’s weapons, and as a result “the Russian staff officers are not planning any lengthy military operations in the Baltic”. However, the expert does not believe that the Polish Navy’s acquisition of Gawron-class corvettes and Miecznik-class coastal defense boats has had any affect on Russia’s actions. In fact, Dura is of the opinion that if Poland acquires frigates, this could play into Russia’s hands. The Russian military could use cruise missiles to destroy these frigates, and there will not be enough of them to protect Poland’s maritime borders. Dura is convinced that Russia would need only three or four mobile launchers to compensate for Poland’s frigates. However, the Orka-class submarines which Poland is likely to acquire could force the Baltic Fleet to rethink its position. The cruise missiles carried by these submarines can reach as far as Moscow, Dura notes, which is why he considers it pointless for Poland’s government to choose corvettes over submarines. NATO is not so concerned by the Baltic Fleet as it is by the Russian garrison in Kaliningrad. A powerful Russian Naval group is stationed there, which includes project 21630 small artillery boats with ZR-14 vertical launch systems capable of accommodating up to eight Kalibr cruise missiles. There is a wide variety of other military vessels which could be used by the naval anti-submarine and anti-air defense, including destroyers, guard ships, corvettes and missile cruisers. NATO member states such as Germany take seriously the possibility of an armed conflict arising in the Baltic Sea. This is evidenced by the fact that at the start of January 2019, the German Navy appointed the first officers to lead multinational naval forces in the Baltic Sea. In July 2018, Magnus Nordenman, an expert from NATO’s Atlantic Council, called the Baltic Sea a “key friction zone” between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance. He even said that it may be necessary to establish a full-fledged NATO Baltic Command in the future. The military official warned that the Baltic is not just the sea, but the entire region, including the land and airspace. “We have already done a lot to strengthen the defense and means of elimination in this region, but a lot must still be done in the coming months and years,” Nordenman observed. Evgeny Buzhinsky, a retired Russian general, said previously that the weapons in Kaliningrad have remained from the Soviet period, when the region was not an exclave. “The entire group that was there [at the time of the USSR] has remained. Nothing new has appeared. The same Iskanders are a rearmament of the missile brigade that has always existed. All of our missile brigades in Russian territory are being rearmed with Iskanders… It is the sovereign right of every state to determine such things,” the general emphasized.

11 Russian fighter jets made mock attack on Norwegian Arctic radar | The Independent Barents Observer

Flying in attack formation, the group of Su-24 attack aircraft turned away just before Norwegian airspace.

UAWire – Norway: Russia is jamming GPS signals and putting passenger flights at risk

Russia has blocked signals of the GPS navigation system near the Norwegian border, Norway’s intelligence service stated. Morten Haga Lunde, the head of the intelligence service, said that the actions of the Russian Federation are “not only a new challenge for Norwegian and Allied training operations, but also a threat to civilian air traffic, the police and health operations”. In October and November 2018, NATO held large-scale military exercises, NATO Trident Juncture exercises, which involved Finland and Sweden. The Norwegian Ministry of Defense stated that Russia interfered with the GPS operation during maneuvers. The signal allegedly came from the Kola Peninsula. The Kremlin has denied these allegations.

U.S. allies look for clues on acting Pentagon chief in European debut | Reuters

U.S. allies will use the opportunity of Patrick Shanahan’s first NATO ministers meeting this week to see whether the acting defense secretary will be as supportive of the military alliance as his predecessor was, defense officials and experts said.

Poland’s Historical Revisionism Is Pushing It Into Moscow’s Arms – Foreign Policy

The country doesn’t need an openly pro-Russian political party. Its own government’s attempts to rewrite Polish history play directly into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

Macedonia raises NATO flag ahead of name change | Fox News

Macedonia has raised a NATO flag at its main government building, as members of the alliance continued to ratify the country’s accession agreement.

North Macedonia Puts Itself On The Map, Officially

Macedonia’s government says the country is now officially renamed the Republic of North Macedonia, under a landmark agreement to normalize relations with Greece that also allows Macedonia to enter …

Macedonia officially changes its name to North Macedonia | World news | The Guardian

Freshly named country has flag-raising ceremony, marking prospective accession to Nato

Poltorak to visit NATO Headquarters Feb 13-14

A delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, led by Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, will visit NATO Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium) on February 13-14.

Putin Threatening Democracies Worldwide, Pompeo Says

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a tour of Central Europe, warned on February 12 that Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a threat to democracies worldwide.

Mike Pompeo & Russia — Secretary of State Slams Contemporary ‘Russian Aggression’ | National Review

For Pompeo, who served as a U.S. army officer in West Germany between 1986 and 1989, the choice between looking West and looking East is clear.

Pompeo: Putin threatening democracies worldwide | News | Al Jazeera

On Central Europe tour, top US diplomat says Moscow and Beijing seeking to erode sovereignty, freedom in the region.

Mike Pompeo Warns Vladimir Putin Is Threatening Democracies Everywhere, Says West Took Its Eye Off Russia

“Let me assure you that Vladimir Putin is intent on undermining democracies throughout the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Slovakia.

Pompeo: Slovakia has never been as independent and prosperous as it is now –

The US secretary of state visited Slovakia as part of his recent tour in Europe.

The problem with Pompeo’s plan to rival China and Russia in Central Europe – The Washington Post

Does it encourage allegiance or more competition?

Mike Pompeo’s warning for Hungary spells trouble to come

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Hungary on Monday to strengthen ties with the NATO member and U.S. ally. But his visit highlights a clear difficulty for the U.S.: pushing back on undemocratic allies while countering overtures from Russia and China. That’s a fine line to walk. Too much pressure to reform and undemocratic leaders will look elsewhere for support, too little and a country may lose its democracy for good.

Mike Pompeo must strengthen diplomacy with Central Europe | TheHill

Normally, a visit by the United States Secretary of State to capitals of America’s Central European allies would be mostly a sequence of courtesy calls. But these are not normal times.

Pompeo: China and Russia seek ‘to erode freedom’ in Central Europe

BUDAPEST, Hungary — China and Russia seek “to erode freedom” in Central European nations once dominated by the Soviet Union, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned Monday in Hungary’s capital.

Pompeo Warns Central European Allies Over Russia, China Ties – YouTube

VOA News Published on Feb 12, 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Slovakia Tuesday following his visit to Budapest – another stop on a trip focused on Russia and China’s growing influence in the central Europe region. As Henry Ridgwell reports, alongside the warm overtures towards America’s NATO allies in Central Europe, there were noticeable tensions on issues such as freedom of the press and relations with Russia.

US wants Hungary to “stop Huawei” – RegionEnglish – on

Latest Serbia news in English, latest Kosovo news in English, Serbian economy news, Serbian business news, Serbian politics news, Balkan regional news in English

Huawei: Mike Pompeo warns Europe over using Chinese firm’s tech – CNN

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned European countries on Monday that using technology from Huawei could hurt their relationship with the United States.

Pompeo, Orban Discuss US-Hungary Security Ties, European Energy Diversification – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed strengthening US-Hungary security relations and European energy diversification during his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Russian Internet-Isolation Bill Advances, Despite Doubts In Duma

Amid pointed questions about costs, intent, and feasibility, Russia’s lower house of parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill that backers say is designed to ensure the operation of the …

UAWire – Russian parliament passes ‘sovereign internet’ bill on first reading

Russia’s State Duma has reviewed and passed the bill “on the reliable Russian internet”, also known as the “sovereign internet” bill, on its …

Q&A: Hurdles Ahead As Russia Surges On With ‘Sovereign Internet’ Plan

Legislation is in the pipeline in Russia that backers say is an effort to ensure the operation of a Russian Internet if access to servers located abroad is cut off. RFE/RL spoke with Tanya Lokot, w…

Bill to create separate Russian internet gets first approval

The lower house of Russia’s parliament has passed the first reading of a bill to create a self-standing Russian segment of the internet.

Russia plans to unplug from internet as US cyber space war heats up | World | News |

RUSSIA is planning to log off from the internet as part of its cyberspace war with the USA.

Russia’s plan to disconnect from Internet raises Great Firewall fears | Fox News

Russia is going to temporarily unplug from the internet as part of what the country is calling a planned experiment.

Russia’s Internet disconnect plan is not what it appears to be

Russia has a plan to temporarily disconnect its Internet servers from international servers and traffic. This isn’t about cybersecurity. Instead, it’s a gambit intended to scare the West into thinking Russia is preparing for war.

Russia plans to disconnect the entire country from the internet to simulate an all-out cyberwar | Business Insider

Russia plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the global internet to simulate an all-out cyberwar.

The Russian government is planning to isolate the country’s Internet to facilitate censorship and security measures. How is this going to work? — Meduza

Russian Senator Andrey Klishas has proposed the Internet isolation plan as an amendment to an existing Russian communications law. His amendment would require all online services that operate in Russia to install specialized equipment that would enable them to block websites banned by the Russian government with greater efficiency. That technology would necessarily make the Russian segment of the World Wide Web independent from the rest of the global network. Klishas and his co-sponsors have justified the bill on the grounds that it would enhance Russia’s ability to withstand external cyberattacks.

Internet freedom expert says Russia lacks the means to pull off an isolated Web like China’s — Meduza

On February 12, 2019, the State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation that will allow the federal authorities to take control over the connection points linking Russia to the global Internet. Ostensibly as a defensive measure, lawmakers want to build the technical infrastructure necessary to sustain the Russian segment of the Internet in isolation from the rest of the world.

Russian lawmakers just passed legislation designed to kick soldiers off social media — Meduza

Google, Facebook, Apple news should be regulated: UK government report

A U.K. government report published Tuesday said a regulator should ensure tech firms like Facebook, Google and Apple are taking steps to help users identify trustworthy, reliable news on their platforms.

Poland, United States argue against Nord Stream 2

Warsaw and Washington argue against the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, which jeopardizes the security of the continent. — Ukrinform.

EU agrees on amendments to Gas Directive, which will regulate, among others, Nord Stream 2 – news economics | UNIAN

Representatives from the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on February 12 agreed on draft amendments to the EU Gas Directive, which will regulate, among other things, the Nord Stream 2 project. The new rules will increase competition between gas suppliers and increase energy security throughout the EU.

What is Nord Stream 2? Why are Russia’s opponents in Europe and America dead set against it? Meduza explains the controversy surrounding a pipeline that could cut Ukraine out of Europe’s gas business — Meduza

On February 12, European Union officials will discuss the status of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is currently being built from the Russian town of Ust-Luga to the German city of Greifswald along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The United States and many European countries oppose the project, but it seems Russia and her main ally in this undertaking — Germany — are nearly at the finish line, following a compromise reached late last week in the EU. Meduza takes a closer look at Nord Stream 2 and why it’s fueled so much international tension.

UAWire – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov warns Pompeo against sanctions for Skripals poisoning

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have recently spoken over the phone at the latter’s initiative, the …

Investigative journalists link third Salisbury attack suspect to poisoning of Bulgarian arms dealer — Meduza

Investigative journalists at The Insider and Bellingcat have released another joint report this time about a third suspect in the March 2018 nerve-agent attack on former Russian military intelligence (GRU) agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. The evidence reportedly points to a man named “Sergey Fedotov” who apparently works for Russian intelligence. Several years before the Salisbury incident, Fedotov allegedly tried to poison Bulgarian arms dealer Emelyan Gebrev using a Novichok-class nerve agent.

U.S. envoy at UNSC: Russia must end conflict by withdrawing its troops from eastern Ukraine, Crimea – news politics | UNIAN

U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Jonathan Cohen has said it is Russia that must end the conflict by withdrawing its troops from eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The U.S. called on Moscow to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, extending to its territorial waters.

No ‘internal strife’ in Ukraine, its part occupied by Russian soldiers – German envoy to UN

Russia’s myth about “little green men” and “internal strife” in Ukraine is not true, as Crimea and Donbas have been seized and are being occupied by Russian soldiers, and Russia is hiding the truth about that. — Ukrinform.

There is no “internal conflict” in Ukraine, it is Russian invasion, – Heusgen –

German Permanent Representative to the UN Christoph Heusgen said that Russia’s statements about “internal Ukrainian conflict” and its non-involvement in the occupation of the territories of Ukraine are not true

Over two thousand Russian soldiers curate mercenaries in Donbas, almost 88 thousand Russian soldiers present at Ukrainian-Russian border, – Yelchenko

13.02.19 11:47 – Over two thousand Russian soldiers curate mercenaries in Donbas, almost 88 thousand Russian soldiers present at Ukrainian-Russian border, – Yelchenko More than 35 thousand soldiers of Russian assault teams are present in occupied Donbas territory. They are curated by over two thousand active Russian soldiers. View news.

Yelchenko: 35,000 troops in Russia-occupied Donbas supported by over 2,100 members of Russian military – news politics | UNIAN

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has said the 35,000-strong armed force in occupied Donbas is supported by more than 2,100 members of the Russian military. As of this February, Russian-armed formations in Donbas have 496 main battle tanks.

Russia should prove its willingness to de-escalation – Yelchenko

The number of Russian weapons and military in Donbas, ceasefire violations, illegal crossing of the border and other violations are not a sign of Russia’s desire to resolve the conflict, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has said. — Ukrinform.

UN Official Says Peace Negotiations For Ukraine Have ‘Lost Momentum’

A top UN official said the negotiations aimed at implementing the 2015 Minsk accords and ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine have lost momentum.

Volker: Russia violates Minsk agreements every day – news portal

Volker: Russia violates Minsk agreements every day. He recalled that Russia seized Debaltseve right after they were signed. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Anti-Russian sanctions to remain effective unless Kremlin abides by Minsk agreements, passes Crimea back to Ukraine, says U.S. Deputy Permanent Envoy in the UN – U.S. to lift sanctions from Russia if it abides by Minsk agreements, passes Crimea back to Ukraine –

The U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow completely abides by the Minsk agreements and gives Crimea back to Ukraine. Jonathan Cohen, the U.S. Deputy Permanent Envoy in the UN said that during the session of the UN Security Council. ‘The United States does not and will not support the Kremlin’s purported annexation of Crimea or anything less than full restoration of Ukraine’s control over its territory, he said, emphasizing that the Donbass-related sanctions will stay in place until such changes are made’, reads the article at the UN press centre’s website.

Avakov presents strategy for Donbas de-occupation at US Institute of Peace

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov presented at the US Institute for Peace the strategy for de-occupation of Donbas called “Small Steps Mechanism.” — Ukrinform.

Avakov, interior minister of Ukraine introduced strategy of de-occupation of Donbas – Ukrainian interior minister presents strategy of de-occupation of Donbas –

Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister has introduced the Strategy of de-occupation of militant-held sections of Donbas. It is called ‘The mechanisms of small steps’. The official presented it during the roundtable at the Institute of Peace in Washington. The Internal Ministry’s press service quoted Avakov who said that Russia has been leading the hybrid war against Ukraine for five years now, and none of the current means of the active phase of the aggression and returning Ukrainian territories to its composition are working. This is why the Ministry offers new mechanisms that would help bring the militant-occupied areas of Donbas back.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, U.S. Dept. of State, 16 ambassadors, leading experts formulate main paradigms of Donbas De-Occupation Plan – Avakov

The United States Institute of Peace hosted a round table with the participation of authoritative experts, members of parliament, the U.S. Department of State, international organizations and representatives of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine, during which the possibilities and risks of Donbas de-occupation plan were discussed, and its main paradigms were formulated, Interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov has said.

Four countries join EU sanctions against organizers of “elections” in Donbas – news politics | UNIAN

Four countries have joined the Council of the European Union in imposing sanctions against nine persons responsible for organizing the so-called local “elections” in Russian-occupied Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Montenegro, Albania, Norway, and Ukraine align themselves with the declaration.

EU stresses need to agree on additional measures for sustainable ceasefire in Donbas – news politics | UNIAN

Miroslav Jenča, the Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, has stressed the need to agree on the additional measures that would make the ceasefire in Donbas sustainable and irreversible. The parties’ priority should be to withdraw heavy weapons from populated areas, disengage forces and protect civilian infrastructure.

Moscow Court Upholds Prolongation Of Ukrainian Sailors’ Pretrial Detentions

A Moscow court on February 12 upheld the extension of the pretrial detention of four of 24 Ukrainian sailors detained by Russian forces along with their three naval vessels in November near the Ker…

Russia calls US-Ukrainian plans to conduct exercises in the Black Sea ‘a dangerous idea’ – Defence Blog

The Russian Foreign Ministry swiftly criticized a multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze 2019 that will take place in the Black Sea. “That’s a dangerous idea, and that’s the way we will view it. Prior to that, we will study the facts. They are viewed by us as a dangerous idea,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on Thuesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry views plan to conduct U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise in the Black Sea as a threat to stability in the region. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry earlier confirmed plans to begin preparations for the joint Ukrainian-US exercises Sea Breeze-2019 scheduled to be held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. “The international exercises will be held in the north-western part of the Black Sea, in Mykolayiv, Kherson and Odesa regions,” the press service of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine reports. According to commander of the Sea Breeze 2019 exercises from the Ukrainian side, deputy commander of the Ukrainian Navy Oleksiy Neyizhpapa, the activities of the exercises, draft scenario and training plan will be elaborated and finalized, and the control staff will be prepared for planning the operations in accordance with the NATO standards during the conference. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen regional maritime security. The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, strengthen combined response capabilities, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nation forces to ensure stability in the Black Sea region.

UAWire – Sea Breeze 2019 international exercises to be held in three southern regions of Ukraine

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova, stated that during the course of future consultations regarding the investigation of the MH17 flight crash in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Russia does not intend to admit its responsibility for the downing of the aircraft. According to her, the focus of the consultations that are soon to be held in Vienna will not be Russia’s recognition of the legal responsibility for the downing of the aircraft. According to the official comment of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow, among other things, wants explanations about how the data provided by Russia is used and taken into account during the investigation. Earlier, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Stef (Stephanus) Blok, stated that diplomatic contacts with Russia aimed at initiating formal negotiations on the “MH17 case” are held in a “positive atmosphere”. At the same time, in December, the media, referring to Blok’s letter to the parliament, reported that the Netherlands was not satisfied with the reaction of the Russian Federation in the case of the crash of the Malaysian Airlines airliner and was studying the possibility of referring this case to an international court. The Netherlands and Australia asked Russia to formally contact the authorities of these countries through diplomatic channels to discuss its responsibility in the interests of justice for the victims and their relatives.

Ukraine not to let Dniester breakaway region have diplomatic office – news portal

Ukraine not to let Dniester breakaway region have diplomatic office. “There is a diplomatic office already, that of Moldova.” Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Five attacks against Ukraine army in past day: one Ukrainian soldier wounded, three terrorists destroyed, – JFO center

13.02.19 10:10 – Five attacks against Ukraine army in past day: one Ukrainian soldier wounded, three terrorists destroyed, – JFO center Feb. 12, Russia occupation forces violated the ceasefire five times employing weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements one time. View news.

Russian mercenary eliminated by precise sniper shot in Donbas – Ukrainian officer (Video) – news war | UNIAN

Twelve members of the Russian occupation troops have been eliminated by this pair of Ukrainian snipers since the beginning of 2019.

OSCE records 430 explosions in Donbas on Feb 11 – report

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) recorded a significant increase in the number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions on February 11, according to a report published by the SMM on February 12. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Ukraine sends a note of protest to Italy after DPR representative office opens in Verona

The Ukrainian Embassy to Italy  reported on Facebook that a note was sent to the Italian Foreign Ministry regarding a DPR (Donetsk People's …

Ukraine’s ministry of information policy presents “White Book” of info-ops against Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine on Tuesday, Feb 12, presented the “White Book of Special Information Operations Against Ukraine, 2014-2018.” It contains descriptions of Russia’s information campaigns aimed against Ukraine, carried out in 2014-2018.

“Bandera” as measure of self-sufficiency – news Ukraine | UNIAN

A recent incident in Kyiv involving police officers when one of them yelled “On the ground, Bandera!” while beating up activists showed how far the law enforcers’ behavior still is from expectations of Ukrainians amid the ongoing police reform. For many, what they saw in a footage showing anti-riot police slam on protesters, forcing them on the ground and beating those already lying down reminded them of the notorious “Berkut” units during the Maidan events in 2013. Besides, that “On the ground, Bandera!” episode added even more parallel lines. “Bandera” is a word that has been and is being used toward Ukrainians as a derogative or insulting term, primarily by the Russians. To Russians, Bandera is someone opposing their actions. If that cop used the word “Bandera” in this precise connotation, it is obvious that he, at least subconsciously, positions himself as a representative of the pro-Russian camp rather than that of Ukrainian law enforcement. Changing the image of Bandera in the minds of Ukrainians is undoubtedly a complex task that requires serious work on the part of both historians and artists In my opinion, this is exactly what infuriated Ukrainians in that incident, sparking a sharp public response. At the same time, I was pleased to see that police officials had got the point and immediately apologized, launching a flash mob campaign “I am a Banderite”, to show that they, law enforcers, also relate. What should be done to fix the issue and discourage certain members of society, in particular, certain law-enforcers, from dismissing Stepan Bandera? Changing the image of Bandera in the minds of Ukrainians is undoubtedly a complex task that requires serious work on the part of both historians and artists. Historians must continue their research, show and explain Bandera’s role and place in Ukrainian history. In their turn, artists must channel to the people the true story of Stepan Bandera, using all artistic forms and means available. There are many myths around Bandera’s figure that have been shaped up by Soviet propaganda. And these myths are now actively being used by Russian propaganda. Given how long such a terrible and negative image of Bandera was being shaped (we’re talking decades!), it is obvious that it will take much more than a few years to succeed with the complete deconstruction of these myths. But I am convinced that the process has already been launched, even judging by the sharp public reaction to the mentioned phrase yelled by a law enforcer. This suggests that most Ukrainians already understand who Stepan Bandera was – a symbol of the struggle for independence. If someone condemns certain Ukrainian historical figures, it is we who has to do this, and for the actions that we believe were wrong, from our own perspective For me, this situation is very important and interesting including because it shows that Bandera is turning into a certain an indicator of how self-sufficient we are, how ready we are to defend our history, without looking back at our neighbors, who might not like it. And they certainly might not like it – there’s nothing unnatural about that. Similarly, we must be prepared to perceive as heroes those who are heroes to us, despite the fact that others don’t like them. If someone condemns certain Ukrainian historical figures, it is we who has to do this, and for the actions that we believe were wrong, from our own perspective. We shouldn’t condemn them just because someone in Russia, Poland or Israel doesn’t like them. Now, as I already mentioned, the police launched a flash mob “I am a Banderite”. In addition, a law enforcer who shouted “On the ground, Bandera!” was charged in court. What will this change? Are such actions purely decorative measures aimed at calming down the public, removing indignation? We could have suggested so had the police limited themselves to an apology and a flash mob. But if this important campaign is accompanied by moves aimed at bringing the perpetrator to justice, this is an adequate reaction. This shows a real desire to look into the issue and fix it, as well as prevent such incidents from repeating. Volodymyr Viatrovych is a Ukrainian historian, head of Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance Read more on UNIAN:

Kyiv court arrests cop following public outrage over beating of activists – News of Ukraine | UNIAN

The court ruled to remand in custody for two months a Kyiv PD operative Vasyl Melnikov, who the prosecution believes was recorded on a video beating an activist during a rally outside the city’s Podil district police station. According to an UNIAN correspondent, the ruling was handed down by a Pechersk district court in Kyiv on Tuesday. The judge ruled the suspect could be bailed for UAH 115,000 (nearly $4,250).

Ukraine’s reputation depends on how elections take place – Volker

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker have discussed the risks of the election campaign in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Without Crimea and part of Donbas: CEC lists districts where presidential vote not to be held – news politics | UNIAN

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has said the presidential elections will be held in 12 out of 21 districts in Donetsk region, as well as in six out of 11 districts in Luhansk region, while the elections in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which are occupied by Russia, will not be held at all. The presidential election will take place on March 31, 2019.

Zelensky in Ukraine: The TV actor who played Ukraine’s president could become the president

A Ukrainian comedy actor who played the country’s president in a hit TV show is being taken seriously as a contender in Ukraine’s presidential election in March.

UN Security Council takes up issue of political persecution against Medvedchuk –

UN Security Council discussed the question of political persecution of opposition leader Medvedchuk

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Another Turn to the Soviet Past: the Moscow Patriarchate Increasingly Shifting from Affairs at Home to Affairs Abroad

Paul Goble Staunton, February 12 – When Stalin restored the Moscow Patriarchate during World War II, he did so primarily for foreign policy reasons, to impress the West with his supposed respect for the religious feelings of the Soviet population. And for the remainder of the Soviet period, the Moscow Patriarchate was far more active abroad than at home. Sometimes this took the form of high-profile participation in ecumenical meetings at which the official church could promote whatever was the Kremlin’s current line; and sometimes it involved the use of church institutions abroad in Jerusalem and Western Europe in particular as covers for Soviet espionage and diversionary activity. At the end of the Soviet period and especially in the early 1990s, the Patriarchate shifted its focus away from foreign affairs to domestic ones, seeking to expand its influence and network within the country and attract to its parishes many who had either fallen away from religion altogether or who had joined unrecognized and underground groups. Now, Valery Yemelyanov, the director of the Vremya i mir information portal, tells Aleksandr Soldatov of the site that “the political activity of the ROC MP has shifted from domestic policy to foreign affairs” once again ( On the one hand, this reflects the Church’s failure at home win support among young people, the religious affairs observer says. The Pussy Riot case showed that the Patriarchate could not hope to become what the Kremlin wanted – the chief articulator of a new national ideology. And on the other, it is the product of changes in the church itself under Patriarch Kirill. The current patriarch had been the longtime head of the church’s foreign policy arm before assuming the top job and sees activity abroad as more natural and more profitable than spreading the faith at home. In particular, he has sought to win points in the Kremlin by being openly Islamophobic. Some hope that Kirill will now focus more on domestic affairs given his debacle in Ukraine. But Yemelyanov says that is unlikely. Instead, the patriarch will try to win back his position in the Kremlin by becoming even more active politically abroad, largely limiting himself to opposing “sects” like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their missionary work at home. Exactly what form that will take is uncertain: The Moscow church does not have the influence to structure events but will only be able to take advantage of new possibilities others may present. But among the most likely forms will be an expansion in ecumenical contacts with Roman Catholics in general and Catholic conservatives in particular. At the same time, the ROC MP seems on course to resume or at least expand what was never completely absent its role as a cover for Russian intelligence and political activists abroad. That role which attracted a great deal of attention during the Cold War is now so obvious that it is getting more coverage now. The most recent case involves the way in which the ROC MP operates as “a Trojan horse” agency in the Czech Republic promoting the Kremlin’s position in Czech politics and engaging in espionage and subversion. This has been documented in a new article by Czech journalist Stanislav Mateyev. The original appeared in Prague’s Denik N on February 9 ( It has now been translated into Russian at What is disturbing about this article is that it shows that the ROC MP abroad is operating now exactly as it operated in Soviet times, with only two differences. On the one hand, it is targeting countries it didn’t have to earlier. And on the other, it may be even more effective because people in the West do not suspect what it is doing.

Russian Supreme Court chief doubles down on Jehovah’s Witnesses ban — Meduza

The Chair of Russia’s Supreme Court, Vyacheslav Lebedev, argued today that the country’s ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses is not motivated by religious animus. His statement came several days after an elder in the organization was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of organizing an extremist group.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Growing Hostility to Russian Officials Eclipsing Ethnic Hostilities among Russians

Paul Goble Staunton, February 12 – One of the more intriguing consequences of Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukraine was that as Russians became more hostile to Ukrainians, they appeared to cut back the level of hostility toward non-Russians within their own country both in terms of what they told pollsters and regarding how they behaved. Now, something analogous may be happening. Growing hostility among Russians toward the Russian government is reducing the relative significance of their hostility toward non-Russians, opening the possibility that there may be greater cooperation across ethnic lines and the danger that the Kremlin will try to do something to prevent that from happening. According to a new TSIRKON poll, 45 percent of Russians say the greatest “contradiction” in their country today is between the population and the government, with 42 identifying that between rich and poor, figures far higher than for any other factor, Kommersant reports ( Only 24 percent see the largest “contradiction” being between those of different political views, only 16 percent between those of different nationalities, and only 13 percent between longtime residents and recent arrivals, including migrants, the poll found. In short, as hostility to the regime has increased, hostility toward other groups has been eclipsed. Three out of four in the sample said they are “ready to unity with other people for joint actions if their ideas and interests correspond.” But 65percent said one had to be “careful” in dealing with others, and 57 percent said the population remains divided along many lines, TSIRKON analysts said media reporting on conflicts had helped produce this situation. Until recently, the paper quotes Sergey Obukhov of the KPRF Central Committee, Russian society, having become radically individualistic and even anomic, was united by Vladimir Putin given that “all other social-political institutions had been devalued.” But now even that unifying factor is breaking down, opening the way to conflicts old and new.